This post includes two very different videos that demonstrate opposite ways of motivating people.

One shows a teacher whose students have been trained to give precisely the response she demands. She is robotic, and so are the students. They do precisely what they are told to do. They are totally compliant.

The other is a video made in Stockholm, where the goal was to persuade people to take the stairs instead of the escalator. The motivator was fun, not external control.

It turns out that there is a better way to motivate people, one that is joyful. I don’t know if it is easier or harder to do, but I suspect the lessons one learns joyfully last longer than those learned under duress. Look at this demonstration created in Stockholm.

As it happens, I have been reading quite a lot about motivation recently, as I have a chapter in my new book about motivation.

Without giving anything away, I suggest you read Edward Deci’s wonderful (small) book, “Why We Do What We Do” and Dan Ariely’s delightful “Predictably Irrational.”

Deci and Ariely represent modern cognitive psychology, which recognizes that intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than extrinsic motivation, and that people are far more engaged when they are purposeful and have a sense of autonomy in their work. These are far more effective at generating intrinsic motivation than tight control.

What do you think?